A Window to My World

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hello Everyone from Guatemala.


Whew! Just finished basically 3 teams in a row and treated almost 4000 patients.
I know my last news letter was basically just a letter but this one will be full of pictures because we saw some incredible places and villages and faces of people. Also I want to throw in some pictures of the area I live in. If you have been here to Guatemala especially the Rio Dulce area you know how beautiful it is, but if you have never been here it is very hard to describe and even the pictures won’t do it justice but I’ll give it a try.
 
The last team here was a group of three RN’s and three Paramedic/Firefighters. This is a very dangerous group to work with, because they are all super motivated to see and work on trauma and so they pray for it to happen…..
 
One of the nurses Gail had her daughter with her Katie who is also a nurse. Gail’s wish was that she could deliver a baby while she was here with her daughter at her side.
 
Well her wish came true and a good time was had by all and here are some pictures.
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Just being born, technically not even all the way born, this guy is only mostly born.
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OK Mom, He is now all the way born and doing fine.   Family Photo
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Gail has been a Nurse for 31 years and here she finally got her wish.
Mom and Daughter delivered the baby together.
 
I had a pretty big surprise in the middle of the week. I had been told the Minister of Health was coming from the Capital to visit my clinic and see what I do. But his boss’s son was shot and so he had to go to the funeral. So instead of him coming he sent 20 other officials. To my total surprise the Governor of the State, the Head of the National Hospital, the head of the National Children’s Hospital, the Congresswoman of our district, the Head of all villages in our State (Izabal), the heads of the Women’s Health Dept, and the Director of Health (the second in command of the Ministry of Health) all came to visit me and see my clinic the work we do here.
 
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They were blown away about the work we do here and said they would do anything they could to help me. The Head of the Health Dept here is the man on the far left. He basically gave me full authorization by the government to practice medicine. My friend Simon King of the Med Vision Company gave me authorization to donate a second Medical Video Conferencing System to the National Hospital that we take out patients to.
So I am giving the unit to the Director of the hospital the man on the right. (I am shaking his hand) I go tomorrow to install the system and then when I have a trauma or get in trouble with a delivery I can connect directly with them so they can see the patient directly. Also if I were to have a bad call like a bus accident with 20 people injured I can now call them with the info 24/7 and they can be getting prepared while we are enroute.
 
 
To be honest I need to say something here. I did not ask these people to come and I never imagined they would come to my clinic. But God continues to open doors and shower His blessing on me more than I can contain sometimes. I wish I could say I am smart enough to make all these things happen but the truth is the Good Lord is orchestrating these things and I just sit back and say thank you.
 
The Team was from Maine but the men were Firefighter/Paramedics from Portsmouth NH. They worked like you can’t believe.
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Whether working in a remote village and having to carry heave bags of meds,
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Or pushing the boat up the river,
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Or working in the Mountains,
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Or seeing hundreds of patients a day,
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Or going to remote village for emergencies in the ambulance,
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Or suturing someone up, or giving a nebulizer treatment to a baby,
 
These guys worked like a skilled military unit. I am serious they had the job done before I could tell them what to do.
They were fantastic!
We also had two Guatemalan dentists help me to pull teeth.
These guys were machines. I am serious, I thought I could pull teeth fast, but these guys were machines.
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They would numb up 5 patients with lidocane and then after they had the last guy numb they would begin pulling 5 or 6 teeth at a time like taking candy corn out of a jack-o-lantern. Now I admit they are different than me…. When the people scream I stop and give more anesthesia, these guys don’t stop for anything…. I just shook my head and thought man I’m glad I am on this side of the chair….. But man could they pull teeth.
 
 
But a couple of the Paramedics on the team were also photographers and so I wanted to show you some of their pictures of where I live in Guatemala. I think the pictures will speak for themselves.
 
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This is Rio Dulce the Town I live near.
 
But the pictures below are where I work…..(My Office!)
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This is the Rio Dulce (River)
 
We took some time off from our clinics and visited some really cool places.
Like:
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The Hot Water Falls. The water comes from a thermal vent out of a cave about 2 miles away and falls at about 104 degrees F. It is literally like sitting in a Hot Tub.
 
We also went to the Granddaddy of Mayan Ruins called Tikal.
The team first went on a Zip Line through the Jungle Canopy and then into Tikal itself. They were blown away!
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This is Temple number 5 and it is just one of the many temples in this area.
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Here the team poses in front of our national tree the Ceba Tree.
 
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This is from the top of Temple 4 overlooking the canopy. We saw wild turkeys and monkeys and I captured a prehistoric looking spider deep inside one of the ruins. We went into a tunnel and when we turned around to go out just above our head was this unbelievable ugly prehistoric looking spider and I had to have it for my collection. So I used a water bottle and now it is on display in my office.
 
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One extreme to the other. Cool in the jungle on the river and Hot in the fields, where they harvest their corn all by hand.
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These are some of the faces of my villages……
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This is inside a typical Mayan home. You can see they cook over an open fire and their walls are made of sticks and floors are just mud.
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This Mayan girl is showing the team how she grinds the corn on a stone tablet with a round stone that has been in the family for generations. She then makes a round tortilla out of the corn meal and cooks it over the open fire. I love the tortillas but the amebas are free!
 
OK I just want to leave you with a few pictures of the people of Guatemala that I serve.
 
 
 
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OK Well that’s about it for now from my world. If you know anything about gardening and want to put a team together for next year, please let me know and we can work out a time to help these folks grow their own food.


Thanks again to the team and all of you back Stateside that help me more than I can ever repay.
 
In His Service
 
Bryan

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